Orthodox Priest Urges Churches to Meet Spiritual Thirst

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There is a thirst and hunger for God and his grace among people regardless of denomination and whether or not they are even believers and Christians have a responsibility to try to help satisfy it, an Orthodox bishop told an inter-church gathering in Montreal January 18.

Bishop Ioan Casian, based largely in the Lachute area as vicar bishop for the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, was preaching at the annual service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, organized by the Montreal-based Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and one of many such services in many countries around the world.

This year’s service was in the Roman Catholic Santa Cruz Portuguese Mission in the Plateau Mont Royal district. (Last year’s was in Christ Church Cathedral; before that they were in St. Joseph’s Oratory.)

“The world wants to be inspired,” Bishop Casian said. “Let’s spend some time with the Lord and listen to God’s word, not because the faith was handed down to us but because we have it in our hearts.”

This year’s services were based on materials prepared by an ecumenical team called together by the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil and urging Christians to strive for greater respect for religious and cultural diversity. It takes as its theme the verse from John (4:7), “Jesus said to her: “Give me a drink” and takes inspiration from the biblical gesture of sharing water with whoever arrives.

Participants in the Montreal service included Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Romanian Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic faithful, Ukrainian Orthodox, United Church people, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Baptists and representatives of the Salvation Army.